Friday, December 30, 2016

31st December Pangolins

I'm on holidays and enjoying having time to read all sorts of things I don't usually have time for like the newspaper. Today in the Sydney Morning Herald (page18 in an article by Lindsay Murdoch), I read something alarming about pangolins, an animal I first met in a wonderful picture book by Bert Kitchen called Tenrec's Twigs. This story is set in Madagascar and has an amazing array of obscure animals, supposedly native to there. A friend visited Madagascar recently and I told her to be sure to see a tenrec and a pangolin. Well she saw a tenrec, but not the pangolin. And reading this today I wonder if that is why.
" Among the environmentalists' biggest concerns in South-east Asia is the pangolin, a scaly aardvark-like mammal that is the inspiration for Pokemon's Sandlash, a character adept at battling foes. The real-life ant-eating and nocturnal pangolins have the dubious distinction of being the most poached animal on Earth...More than 100,000 of the shy and near-sighted animals are captured every year across Africa and Asia."

The UN's Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species (CITES) has banned global trade in pangolins in the hope that they do not become extinct, a good reason too, to ensure that the students we teach know about them. I bought these two books for the library, so that when I share Tenrec's Twigs I can offer the children more to read. Not a lot, but a start without having to look through an index in a general animal  nonfiction book.